In a major rebuke of the Trump administration, a federal appeals court on Thursday declined its urgent request to restore the controversial executive order banning refugees and immigrants from a number of Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the U.S.
The 9th Circuit decision keep Trump’s order from being enforced, which means one of his signature policy initiatives will remain in limbo as the litigation proceeds before the federal judge in Seattle who temporarily blocked the order’s implementation. The appeals court heard arguments in a high-stakes hearing on Tuesday.
Rejecting arguments that the government would be “irreparably harmed” if the judicial system reviewed President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, which he premised on his authority over national security matters, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit determined that the judiciary has a proper role in safeguarding people’s rights.
“To the contrary, while counseling deference to the national security determinations of the political branches,” the court said, “the Supreme Court has made clear that the Government’s authority and expertise in [such] matters do not automatically trump the Court’s own obligation to secure the protection that the Constitution grants to individuals, even in times of war.”
According to The Huffington Post, the three judges who participated in the appeal ― U.S. Circuit Judges Richard Clifton, William Canby and Michelle Friedland ― did not sign their names to the opinion, but instead issued a per curiam order, possibly to avoid being singled out by Trump, who has taken to criticizing judges ruling against his unconstitutional executive order.
In an early-morning tweet prior to a law enforcement conference Wednesday, Trump appeared to prejudge the 9th Circuit’s outcome and call into question the motivations of the judges who considered his travel ban.
“I don’t ever want to call a court biased, so I won’t call it biased,” Trump said during a gathering of chiefs of police. “And we haven’t had a decision yet. But courts seem to be so political, and it would be so great for a justice system if they would be able to … do what’s right. And that has to do with the security of our country, which is so important.”
U.S. District Judge James Robart, the Seattle jurist who put a temporary nationwide restraining order on Trump’s travel ban last week, said in his earlier ruling that there’s a high likelihood the executive order would cause irreparable harm to the states of Washington and Minnesota if he didn’t block it.
This is a developing story.